Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
A former Minister of Sports, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, has formally declared interest to run for the governorship of Kwara State on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform.
Abdullahi made the announcement yesterday at a very colourful ceremony in Ilorin, the state capital, where he was endorsed by several political groups and hailed as the leading gubernatorial aspirant of the PDP for the State.
Abdullahi said he was inspired to join the race because of his passion to provide purposeful and impactful leadership that will improve the lots of the people, explaining that the central agenda of his government would be youth-inclusiveness.
“The greatest investment the government can make is to make the youth productive. That’s why my number one, two and three agenda is on youth development because if we do not solve the problem of the youth, we cannot talk about development.
‘’The vast majority of our population are young people, to harness their potentials we must provide them with quality education,’’ he said.
Abdullahi stated that as a child of poor parents who hawked food in the streets of Ilorin, he knew what it is to be poor and suffer lack.
“When we were young, my sister and I used to hawk fufuon the streets of Ilorin. We were poor. I went to LSMB primary school at Oke Anifowoshe. The same school we attended cannot give quality education today. All I want is for the children of the poor to have the same opportunity as I did and have the chance to become someone of influence.
Abdullahi argued that the greatest freedom the people of the state desire is improvement in their quality of life and wellbeing.
According to him, there is no doubt that youths remain a major factor in the socio economic growth of any society, hence all hands must be on deck to ensure its development and growth.
He explained that he took the issue of youth development as a great challenge during all his previous political positions, stressing thatif the state must witness great development and growth, the issue of youths development must be a front burner.
He said: “Even, during my consultations across all the wards in my constituency in Ilorin West Local Government Council Area of Kwara State, all the people I have seen were young people between age 0 and 19 and without being fully engaged.
“And I have taken it upon myself that youthdevelopment would be my main priority because if we start building schools, health institutions, construction of roads, among others without rising to the youths development, it will be a serious challenge to move the state forward.
“Our youth demography can yield the expected dividends only when we are prepared to make the required investments that would discover, tap and channel their massive potentials productively. When our youths are fully developed and engaged, the propensity to develop our state in the areas of social amenities and other infrastructures would have meaning and this will help us to move the state into a greater height among other states of the federation.
He also said: “I want to tell you by the grace of God that if given a chance to lead our state come 2019, youths will be educated and their skills will be improves, thereby creating employment opportunities for them; because if we fail to do this, the youths will fight back and this will not help the state”.
Abdullahi however, pledged that his administration would provide qualitative education, health, agriculture, sport, local industries, mining, infrastructure, among others so as to accelerate the economic growth of the state.
He advised those opposing the leadership of the Senate President in the state to have a rethink and support his (Saraki’s) ideas of leadership so as to move the state forward, noting that Saraki’s leadership had empowered the less-privileged people in the state.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi Campaign Organisation, Mr. Abiodun Asonloko, described Abdullahi as the most prepared aspirants amongst the PDP gubernatorial hopeful.
‘’Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi is the first gubernatorial aspirant that made his manifesto available even before he becomes the candidate of the Party. This is an indication of good things in the offing for Kwara State’’, he said.